Camilla Mortensen's blog

I'm always interested in new knowledge and information. I'm also a lover of old books and stories. So when I saw the UO Library was having a book sale, with a whole table devoted to journalism, I happily plunged in.

I was tempted by, but stayed away from the romance novels, 1970s era teen fiction and a whole table of maps. Ok, well truth be told, I bought one map. As Joseph Conrad wrote in Heart of Darkness :

"Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there."

I love maps. But that's beside the point.

I pretty much stuck to the journalism table. I came home with a seven part pamphlet series titled "WRITING for NEWSPAPERS, MAGAZINES and TRADEPAPERs" published in 1924. It was written by a fellow named Orin R. Coile. Mr. Coile may have been famous in his day, but the only information Google had on him was a genealogy listing that said he was a newspaper editor in Tennessee, born in 1876 and had at least four wives between 1897 and 1910. I'm hoping he had more success as a newspaper editor than he did with wives. But judging from his advice, I'm not so sure. Here are some choice excerpts from the first pamphlet:

"Writing for profit is easy. The very simplicity of writing for newspapers is the only complex thing connected with it. There is no reason why, if you will follow this instruction, you should not begin to make money quickly.

"Most people writing their first offering for newspapers write upon the theory that fine writing is necessary. The reverse is true. Simple writing is wanted and is absolutely necessary.

"Newspapers are for the masses. Therefore newspaper stories (every news item is called a "story" in a newspaper office) must be written in the simplest style possible. The more one and two syllable words you use the better your story will be."

Huh. One and two syllable words. I KNEW there was something I wasn't quite getting right in my stories. Now if I can just find a one-syllable word for "environmental" or "particulate matter."

Stay tuned for more writing tips from sections like: "How to keep the confidence of your news sources" and (my favorite) "How to cover a story in the manner of an expert."

Unlike the Republican candidates, who seem to have a poor track record when it comes to furry folk, the Dems are coming out full of puppy love.

According to an AP wire story out today, Obama announced that he doesn't just want to be the people's president, but a president for all critters:

"What about animal rights?" a woman shouted out during the candidate's town hall meeting outside Las Vegas Wednesday after he discussed issues that relate more to humans, like war, health care and the economy.

Obama responded that he cares about animal rights very much, "not only because I have a 9-year-old and 6-year-old who want a dog." He said he sponsored a bill to prevent horse slaughter in the Illinois state Senate and has been repeatedly endorsed by the Humane Society.

"I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other," he
said. "And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful
of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals."

In breaking news, today's press release from the FBI reveals that they are not emailing you and asking for information, nor are they telling you of an inheritance, or lottery winnings. It's an email phishing scam.

To quote: "The FBI does not send out e-mails soliciting personal information from citizens."

Of course not, what would they email you when they can just wiretap your phone?

"I feel like Seabiscuit," Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said today after the Iowa Caucus, National Public Radio reports, likening himself to the underdog racehorse that became a champion. But maybe he meant "I feel like eating Seabiscuit"?

While stumping in Iowa in December, Huckabee admitted to eating horses, and Huckabee and other candidates seem to have a real problem with puppy love (or the lack of it).

Diet-conscious Huckabee's horsemeat eating was revealed when responding to a reporter from a Dutch television station. He informed her of how much he liked the Netherlands: “It’s one of my favorite places.” He then went on to comment on the food, horse flesh in particular.According the Wall Street Journal’s blog Washington Wire “He named a couple of his favorite Dutch foods, including one made from horsemeat. Asked if it tasted like chicken, he confirmed: ‘Tastes like chicken.’”

Reuters New Service reports that United Animal Nations has asked Huckabee to reconsider eating Trigger and Mr. Ed citing a statistic that says 70 percent of Americans disapprove of eating horses.

Interesting to note here is the fact that most people who have eaten horse meat liken the meat to beef, begging the question of exactly what chicken-like substance was Huckabee eating when he thought he was munching on Seabiscuit?

Huckabee strikes out with dog lovers too, as do his fellow Republican candidates. In a story entitled “Why do Republicans Hate Puppies?” reports that Huckabee’s son David killed a dog in 1998 by hanging it from a tree (a la Michael Vick) and “John Bailey, then-director of the Arkansas State Police, told Newsweek that a local prosecutor asked him to investigate, but that the governor's chief of staff and personal lawyer both pressured Bailey to keep away.” Utopia Rescue Ranch alleges that David Huckabee not only hung the dog but slit its neck and stoned it to death.

Rudy Giuliani’s contribution to the puppy problem comes via his wife Judith, who used to sell medical staplers to doctors by demonstrating them on live sleeping dogs, who were then later killed. When asked why it was necessary to staple live dogs, the president of the company Judith Giuliani worked for, U.S. Surgical, said “A dead dog doesn't bleed . . . You need to have real blood-flow conditions, or you get a false sense of security,” in a 1988 Time Magazine article.

The final Republican in the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy list is Mitt Romney. The Boson Globe reports as an example of Romney’s “emotion-free crisis management” an incident in which he put the family dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus, into a dog carrier and strapped him on to the roof of his car for a 12 hour drive to Canada. He only stopped when one of his sons noticed a “brown liquid dripping down the back window,” a sign animal lovers say that the dog was terrified and a sign that PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told Time Magazine “the dog was, basically, being tortured.”

If a Republican wins, the puppies and ponies of America better watch out, or they may find themselves strapped to a roof and Kentucky Fried. After all apparently these guys eat the underdog.

If the pictures in this week's cover story weren't enough, check out this video of one of the Salween rafters going through what they called "Landslide Rapid" on the first descent of the river.

Whiteaker neighbors are concerned that the majority on the Whiteaker Community Council (WCC) is leaving them without a “collective voice” as the neighborhood faces the prospect of condominiums and home developments, according to a flyer that went out to Whiteaker area homes on Tuesday.

The WCC is holding midterm elections Dec. 12 to fill six vacant board positions and elect a vice chair and secretary. The previous vice chair resigned in June, citing “a consolidation of power” and “the active exclusion of particular ideas and individuals” in a letter of resignation.

The development issue is in response to the Eugene City Council’s Neighborhood Initiative Plan, which seeks to increase density in existing neighborhoods “thoughtfully.” A number of the neighbors fear that they won’t have input on development in the Whiteaker.

According to Marcella Monroe, at-large member of the WCC, “It is really important our neighborhood association doesn’t become disempowered.”

The board majority reduced WCC board meetings to once every three months instead of once a month, says Monroe, and changed the WCC’s long-standing “open community discussion” to what the flyer calls a “tightly controlled agenda prepared by the board.

The neighbors say the board is overstepping its authority; the WCC charter says, “The assembled membership attending the general meetings shall be the overall policy-making body,” not the board.
Whiteaker midterm elections results will be posted on the EW blog at on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Whenever someone takes umbrage at something in the Weekly, we often suggest they write a letter to the editor (or sometimes a Viewpoint, but that's another issue). This isn't just to placate the pissed-off reader. Letters to the editor get read. Ask anyone what they read first in the EW, if it's not Savage Love, then it's probably the letters.

I know that somewhere out there, there is a study on what gets read in the paper first (surely if people are studying beer fridges they are also studying what gets read in the paper). But if you do an informal survey of your friends, and ask them "So what do you read first in the Weekly?" most of them will probably say, "the letters."

Please note: "So what do you read first in the Weekly?" is probably a good pick-up line in a Eugene coffee shop. It gets conversation going.

It's a good pick up line unless, like me, you actually write for the Weekly, in which case when the question is "So what do you read first in that rag?" and I happen to have written the cover story that week, it's far less effective.

So this morning I was reading the Register-Guard's letters and I came across the one called: "12-step programs offer hope." Now don't get me wrong, alcoholism is a tough subject, that's not the issue for me here. But the writer says "12-step programs are not dens of inequity."

What the heck is a "den of inequity"? Did the copyeditor miss this in their letters or does someone there really think there is such a thing as a "den of inequity"? Well, I guess there is. I mean, college sports for example. Despite Title IX, women's sports just don't get the funding and attention that men's sports do. Thus there is a distinct inequity and I could conceive of college sports as a "den of inequity."

But somehow I think the writer meant "den of iniquity" (iniquity meaning "unrighteous acts or sins).

I love typos like that. It's a kind of malapropism. A malapropism is when an incorrect word is substituted for a similar word with comic effect (George Bush does it so much we call them Bushisms along with his other linguistic weirdnesses).

It's kind of like when people call us the Eugene Weakly, only more funny. Usually they call us that while also suggesting we are a den of iniquity. Iniquity is fun, so I'm ok with that. Just don't try to work it into a pick-up line.

According to a recent scientific study the use of a "beer fridge" has a direct link to a lack of energy savings. The study, entitled: "Who Pays for the 'Beer' Fridge?: Evidence from Canada"" explores the energy waste generated by households that when purchasing a new refrigerator, turn their older "vintage" one into a "beer fridge."

"Beer fridge" would be terminology employed by University of Alberta economist Denise Young. I didn't make it up.

"Older vintage ‘beer fridges’ are costly for households to run and impose costs on the environment," writes Young in her study published in the journal Energy Policy.

Also in breaking eco-news is the study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that says divorce is bad for the environment. The increasing numbers of divorces world wide has led to more houses with fewer people in them.

The researchers found that divorce causes an increase in the number of houses constructed, which takes up energy and space. The new homes also use energy in heating and cooling.

The researchers' 2005 data showed that divorced households used an extra 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water when compared to married households.

All of this energy consumption leads, as everyone seems to agree these days, to greenhouse gases and global warming.

Now, if you just add "beer fridges" into the equation -- and I'm assuming here that a certain percentage of newly single divorced guys may want to indulge in the "beer fridge" practice -- then you're talking about a lot of polar bears sliding into the sea off of the melting polar ice.

I'm just not sure what the logical conclusions of these studies are: Save the earth by staying together and drinking warm beer?

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